‘Slim chance’ that Chimera will return to Capitals

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Jason Chimera is an interesting case heading into free agency, which opens tomorrow.

He’s 37 years old. His two-year, $4 million deal is up and he’ll be a free agent tomorrow. He’s also coming off a 20-goal season. That ties his single-season career best from 2011-12. The 40 points he recorded this season? Two short of his single-season career best — set two years ago.

However, according to CSN Mid-Atlantic, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said on Thursday, “I think it’s a slim chance” that Chimera returns to Washington for next season.

To the Capitals, their priorities came down to re-signing their restricted free agents like Marcus Johansson and Tom Wilson, according to Trotz.

“If those guys’ (contracts) aren’t done before that you can’t commit a bunch of dollars (to Chimera) and then all of a sudden you’re losing a guy who’s 26 versus  a guy who’s 37.”

Johansson has received his qualifying offer, while the Capitals on Thursday announced they had re-signed Wilson to a two-year, $4 million deal, and Zach Sill to a two-year, two-way deal, worth $575,000 at the NHL level next season. Fellow RFA Dmitry Orlov remains unsigned for now.

As for Chimera, Trotz is still confident the forward of 951 regular season games will sign somewhere in the NHL for next season.

“There aren’t that many 20-goal guys that can skate like Jason Chimera in the National Hockey League,” Trotz said.

“He’s a veteran guy who brings energy. I said to him, ‘If you keep taking care of yourself the way you are, (you) can play until (you’re) 45.’ I think he’s going to get a three-year deal somewhere in the National Hockey League. He’s got a 28-year-old body on him and I don’t think he’s going to get any slower in the next year or two.”